Tan Ray Tat's Portfolio

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Tan Ray Tat's portfolio

Transcript of Tan Ray Tat's Portfolio


ZINES/ ART BOOKS Carbon Marrow The Death of Edward Lear New Village INSTALLATION Seance Altar The Solipsist VIDEO/ PERFORMANCE HKPT Matyr Sound and Sight 22 27 28 14 17 22 3 10 12

CARBON MARROW(2008 - 2010)


o date, I have self-published 4 Issues of Carbon Marrow, a project that has its genesis in the research I did for my undergraduate dissertation on surrealist film. In making these comics my goal was to apply surrealist editing techniques to the comics medium, creating a tension between sensibility and intelligibility via the disruption of narrative sequence. I also drew inspiration from drawings by children, and horror vacui. This series charts the development of a private language, mediated by events it cannot communicate.




A review of Carbon Marrow in Time Out Magazine, August 2009







his art book was conceived as a scroll. A phantasmagoric landscape integrating imagery from Edward Lears nonsense poems stretches along it, under a biographical time line, depicting Edward Lears life and struggle with epilepsy in 51 panels. When folded, specific sections of the scroll match up with each other, representing 5 different points in which Lears art and life intersect, as well as mirroring the A-B-A-B rhyme scheme in his nonsense poetry. The first intersection depicts the life of the author in its most condensed form: In 3 panels, Lear is born, grows old, and dies. As the reader unfolds the book he reads the book laterally, and parallels are drawn between the gaps in consciousness during Lear during his seizures, and the gap between authorial intent and the work which one can never totally account for.





rustrated by the lack of development in the local literary and aesthetic sphere, a group of young writers based in Kuala Lumpur got together to create a journal that would promote a new kind of writing as well as foster critical reflection on arts. In the words of one of the editors: A major thread running through our conversations about Malaysian literature is the lack of a modern sensibility, which renders the work unworldly and traditional, as if it were stuck in a time warp (intentionally or not). Irony is a major feature of this modern sensibility which is lacking in a lot of Malaysian writing. I served as the designer of this project, contributing artwork as well as a piece of experimental fiction called The Ingrown, in which I further explored the dissolution between image as it is seen and text as it is read.





made an installation incorporating painting and animation for a politically-themed art show, facetiously called The 3rd Pyongyang International Arts Festival. The room in which the installation was exhibited also served as the site of a performance, of sorts, where the visuals and sounds of the installation were subject to manipulation. My strategy was to call into question the notion of framing, may it be an act which divides and organizes what constitutes the inside and outside the realm of visual experience, or that which deems the parameters which the artists interference may extend to, deeming the work closed or resolved. My contribution to the show was a meditation on fascism of the frame.


Sance Painting and Projection with Sound June 5, 2010, The 3rd Pyongyang International Arts Festival

The two faces (left) were first painted on the wall, photographed, then flipped and rearranged in a template (above) which I drew my animations over.


Animated organisms move back and forth into both faces, symbolizing a power struggle

During the performance, local noise musicians Jerk Kerouac and Sudarshan manipulated the audio source running through their pedals and chaos pads, while I altered the images on my laptop.




his mixed-media sculpture was exhibited at the Annexe Gallery.

Freud identified an overdetermination of meaning at work in dream logic, which I wanted to evoke by making the equivalent of a Rube Goldberg cartoon, something absurdly complicated, not unlike Marcel Duchamps The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, except that instead of making something with the appearance of a machine in itself, I decided that I would make a diagrammatic model alluding to one. I drew visual references from crassly designed medical infographics which I had found at an education fair.



he surface of the box is covered in layers of collage and acrylic, anatomical pictures fading in and out of textural painting. In the bottom panel from which the tube protrudes, two half heads are painted on. One mouth is full of plastic insects glued on the canvas, the other full of shells. There are coins attached to where the eyes are supposed to be. Above this is a television playing a blurry, abstract sequence in loop. Ticking sounds can be heard. The tube runs through the clock, and the scissorpart attached in place of the minute hand jerks slightly, seemingly suspended in time.


he tube is attached to the sculpture of a baby, wrapped in plastic and laid in a pile of shells and insects. It appears that someone has left rubber toys for the child.




uilding up on some of the themes I had explored in Seance, I decided to tackle the following problem: How does one represent art as a solitary experiential act, even though it inadvertently becomes a shared experience via the practice of representation? My solution was to make myself part of the artwork while denying myself any contact from the viewer.


The Solipsist Illustrated Tent With Projection and Sound, June 22 2010, Switch On, KLPac

For the duration of the show, I remained in the tent with musical instruments, a mic, my laptop and a flashlight, unable to see whoever walked into the room while I controlled the projection and sounds.


Lights and shadows are created in relation to the face drawn on the tent, as the projected image breaks up into little fractals within fracals. Prerecorded puppetry of a cardboard mouth is projected whenever I speak through the mic.


(2010 - 2011)



KPT was an experimental music collective which several of my friends had started. My role in the group was to provide visuals during performances. I prepared for each show by creating short clips, animated and filmed, which I looped and manipulated during the show, mixing them with live camera elements. I usually think in terms of responding to musical shifts, by finding a way to transition one clip to another, improvising a sequence. The places we have performed at include MAP KL, The Actors Studio, The KL Performing Arts Center and the National Art Gallery, where I recreated the Solipsist on stage with the rest of the band for The Japan-Malaysia Video Art Exchange 2010.

One of our first sessions from MAP KL, April 2010



The Solipsist with HKPT at the National Art Gallery auditorium, August 2010. I found the aspect of a central entity, the lead singer, of sorts, being isolated from the rest of a band and the audience interesting. Video is a part of our everyday lives more than ever before. Life is captured on screen and experienced through computers, mobile phones, TV, cinema or even projection on buildings. As a medium, video profoundly affects the way we view reality. This exhibition brings together video works from Malaysian and Japanese artists. What is the meaning of distance when video can instantly show us people and places from around the world? In the spaces between video screens, where and how can we meet? - Curatorial Statement by the Organizers



Performance from SICKL: Open Lab 12, August 2010


MARTYRE(2010)thnic Chinese and Indian groups have long alleged that Malaysias economic policies are focused on the welfare of the ethnic majority over others, giving them special privileges in housing, education, and employment. In March 2010, Al Jazeera News interviewed local Malaysian politician Ibrahim Ali, asking him to respond to charges of institutionalized discrimination on the governments part. He responded with a profanityridden tirade, which has become the source of this piece of video art. The title is an allusion to the line: We the Malays have forgive a lot of thing (sic) to these people... We have sacrificed a lot of our interests.

On October 2010, Martyr was screened at KLEX 2010, an experimental film festival showcasing work from video artists regional and abroad.




n February 2011, I paritcipated in a video art and music show organized by the curators of KLEX, held at the KL Performing Arts Center. I performed two sets, one centered around the deconstruction of live gestural drawing and another around the image of a face.

Detail from the poster I designed for the show



performed this autopsy of the drawing and animation process accompanied by a free jazz saxophonist and vocalist. Starting with a white space projected over shapes resembling a rib cage which I had pasted on the wall, I made a sequence of line drawing. Every now and then I would play the accumulation of every subsequent frame transforming and reinterpreting the previous one, like a flipbook, making the lines appear to move and the picture comes alive.



or the second set, I developed a visual motif I had used in The Solipsist where I split the face into 3 sections: The left eye, the right eye, and the mouth. I animated variations of these parts, sometimes substituting an eye or mouth with a word or an object. During the performance, with an ensemble band made up of various musicians and artists who had gotten together for the occasion, my role as a VJ became simply a matter of mixing and matching different parts of the face to make new combinations.

VIDEO DOCUMENTATIONCD CONTENTS: 1. Seance 2. The Solipsist (At the National Art Gallery) 3. Performances with HKPT 4. Martyr 5. Sound and Sight performances 6. Miscellaneous (Animated Works)